By Jessica Helfond

I know I already posted about food, but I feel as though dessert is deserving of its own post. Because let’s be honest, we all know dessert in Italy is incredible. Rome is known for its specific desserts, and they are each done to absolute perfection.

Let’s get started with the big one: gelato. The gelato in Rome is unlike any sort of ice cream dessert I have ever tasted before. Gelato in Rome was so soft and creamy, and had the most incredible flavor. A quick tip on how to know if the gelato is good: it should be very soft and smooth, and should NOT be firm. Say goodbye to the scoops we know in America, and hello to smooth, creamy goodness. 

Most gelato shops in Rome had a wide variety of fruity flavors, considering southern Italy (near Rome) is known for growing incredible citrus fruits, and the tuscany region is known for growing other delicious fruits. The fruity flavors ranged from lemon to strawberry, and even all the way to peach and melon. 

While the fruity flavors are all delicious, I’m going to be honest and say I’m way more of a chocolate or nut flavored gelato person. And let me tell you, these flavors did not disappoint. As simple as it may seem, dark chocolate gelato was one of my favorite flavors, despite having tried far more exciting ones. It’s simple, yet so good. Plus, it goes great with so many other flavors. Some other flavors I liked were tiramisu (I’ll discuss the actual dessert later) and coffee (although be warned: coffee in Italy is STRONG). Another one of my favorite combinations was hazelnut and pistachio gelato. 

I have to throw in my personal favorite gelato shop: Frigidarium. Located about 10 minutes southwest of the Pantheon, spending 2 euros on a huge, delicious gelato was a no brainer most days. Plus, it was right by our study center, so how could we resist going? They had a special flavor named after their shop: Frigidarium. It was chocolate and cookie flavored, and the best gelato I had my entire month in Rome. I also loved this shop because you had the option of getting either whipped cream, dark chocolate, or white chocolate on top, plus a cookie. Needless to say, gelato in Rome is an absolute MUST HAVE. It makes for a great after dinner dessert, or even a mid-afternoon snack to try to beat the heat.

Although gelato reigns supreme, I do have to mention a few other sweet treats. Rome was full of shops that had Sicilian cannolis. They had cream flavored, pistachio flavored (my personal favorite), orange flavored, and even nutella filled cannolis. They’re a perfect little dessert to have with an espresso in the afternoon, or just because they’re delicious.

And last, but by no means least: homemade tiramisu. Most restaurants will have this for dessert after dinner or lunch, and I could not recommend it more. Plus, many restaurants like to put their own twist on it, so it’s great to try it at a variety of places. 

Needless to say, desserts in Rome are absolutely divine. The ingredients are so fresh, which creates desserts with incredible flavor. So go forth, and try all of the gelato. You will not be disappointed.

Jessica Helfond studied abroad in Rome in Summer 2019. https://ieo.ucla.edu/travelstudy/italian-rome/